Human Resources

The CMO Files: Ali Moinuddin, CMO, Workshare

Get inside the mind of the world's top marketing professionals. In 20 questions we find out what they love most about their job, what their biggest achievements are... and what keeps them awake at night. Read 'The CMO Files'...

  Name:  Ali Moinuddin 

  Organisation: Workshare

  Job title: CMO

  Location: London, UK

(1)       Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Pakistan, but raised in London from the age of 2.

(2)       What was your first job?

I had quite a diverse range of first jobs before and during University. I was a ranger at a local safari park, a Falconer, an extra for various TV shows, and a DJ! I’ve always been adaptable and creative. My first job after leaving university was working with children at a nursery in Berkshire.

(3)       What was the first product you got really excited about?   

The old LED calculator watches. I was fascinated by the technology, and the fact that you could carry it with you wherever you went. This fascination has carried on to this day and permeated my job, where every day I try to share that same excited feeling I have about technology and the possibilities it creates, with users.

(4)       Who has been the biggest influence on your career?

I have worked with Anthony Foy, the current CEO of Workshare several times in my career. His guidance and leadership style instilled in me a lot of the values I work with today, and without those I would not have progressed to where I am today. With the global scope of Workshare and indeed the whole collaboration marketplace, Anthony has also been influential in my ability to work on an international stage.

(5)       What has been your greatest achievement?

On a personal level, it has to be training a Saker falcon to fly free and back to the lure. I also feel a great sense of achievement in being able to give back, and work with people from disadvantaged backgrounds, helping them to overcome their situation in order to become successful in whatever way they want.

On a professional level, it would have to be being involved with the teams that have grown start-ups into three successful exits and flotations.

 (6)       What has been your biggest mistake?

There isn’t one big mistake that I have made, but I sometimes stick too much to a ‘direct’ route to achieve the end goal. This can be at the detriment of creativity, as I have learnt that it is in the twist and turns of a collaborative campaign plan that the best ideas often emerge.

(7)       What is your greatest strength?

Passion. This comes across in my work - passion for my company and passion for how my team and I contribute to its success.

(8)       What is your biggest weakness?

I have been known to work at 100 miles an hour, which can be difficult for others to keep up with. I have learnt over my career that I need to temper my pace. By taking the time to ensure everyone is on the same page and everyone can buy in, and by celebrating the little things, successes will be easier to achieve in future.

(9)       What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers?   

There are areas that I think all CMOs can improve on, none more so than risk taking. It doesn’t always work out and you don’t always win but it is important to remember that you gain every time by learning something new.

I also find that the tracking of ROI for all marketing campaigns and the contribution of the individual channels to those campaigns is often neglected. From this there is no way to measure the commercial success of that campaign. We also need to think beyond the immediate ROI’s, and building a pipeline to meet the quarter’s numbers, and have a three-year strategy of where we want to position the company.

(10)    Which word or phrase is your mantra and which word or phrase makes you squirm?

My mantra is simplify, simplify, simplify. This is especially true in my role at Workshare as we create applications that are simple and intuitive, so that anyone can watch a two minute tutorial and start using it straight away. The same is true with marketing campaigns; it is often the simplest approaches that deliver the best results.

(11)    What makes you stressed?

Doing nothing and wasting time. For me, not being mentally engaged and active stresses me out!

(12)    What do you do to relax?

I run. Running 10k before work is a great opportunity to have ‘me time’ and gather my thoughts before the day ahead.

(13)    What is your favourite song?

‘Everywhere’ by Fleetwood Mac. I could listen to that for hours!

(14)    Which book taught you most?

I have two – Jay Conrad’s ‘Guerrilla Marketing’ and Tracy Kidder’s ‘The Soul of a New Machine’. Both have shaped my professional outlook.

Do you have a team or sport that you follow?

(15)    I follow Formula 1 racing, and personally I enjoy driving, running, and scuba diving.

(16)    Which country would you like to work in?

I would love to work in the US, China, and South America. There are lots of reasons for this, mainly because of the challenges that each of those markets would bring and the opportunities for growth, not to mention the weather!

(17)    Which company do you think has the best marketing?

Apple definitely has the best marketing – which other company could only communicate with the media during big launches and still be one of the most successful companies in the world? Their marketing is simple, aspirational, and modest, which is why it works so well.

(18)    What do you love most about your job?

One of the great things about the industry I work in, and also Workshare, is the variety. The people and the pace we work at is a real attraction, as well as being able to forge new ground for the company.

Being able to spend the year since the merger assisting with the integration and communication of the combined value prop, while also ensuring that customers understood the value being delivered by the new company has given me everything I want from my job.

(19)    What is your favourite book?

‘The Art of Falconry’ by Richard Glazier.

(20)    What keeps you awake at night?

Looking to the future. I am fortunate that in my work risks are embraced, so I am always planning the next big thing!


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